Where history comes to life
Open your eyes, prick up your ears!
The smells of floor wax, dung and fresh hay permeate the air, then from somewhere come the sounds of wet laundry hitting stone … The Hessenpark Open Air Museum takes its visitors on a voyage of discovery of everyday life in Hessian villages of yesteryear. More than a hundred buildings from all over Hesse open up areas of adventure to the senses: the cool walls of a 15th century church, hard school benches from the turn of the 20th century, the rattling of dishes in a 1950’s pub. Most of the buildings have been reconstructed using the original materials from the relevant period in history.
Houses telling stories
The Museum was established in 1974 during the time when lots of old houses made room for new ones in the villages and small towns. However, in the town of Neu-Anspach, in the heart of Hesse, some of them made of wood and stone were saved to be witnesses to the past. The special thing about an Open Air Museum is this: the exhibits are houses, workshops, trees, fields and even live animals. And the visitors? They are right at the centre, experiencing history first-hand through theatrical tours and workshops, and by exploring gardens, barns and kitchens or by dining in a historical tavern.
Want to learn more?
We would love to tell you more about everyday life in Hesse’s past. Bring your friends and family and enjoy our park’s historical surroundings – with all your senses.
Look it up in the Hessenpark reference pages
There is a lot to see at the Hessenpark Open Air Museum: historical half-timbered houses, permanent exhibitions, animals, timeless crafts, and more… Our reference pages provide answers to many of your questions about the Hessenpark.
Your shoes were made for walking …
Hiking on mostly well-maintained tracks, you can experience the whole of Hesse: five regional and two special groups of buildings bring the character of building and domestic culture from different regions of Hesse alive. In our workshops, you can gain direct insights into the everyday working life of farmers and craftsmen of yesteryear. The 26 timber-frame buildings on the marketplace attract visitors with art exhibitions and historical exhibits. And the small shops, inns and benches located there offer the opportunity to take a rest.
Face to face with animals in Hessenpark’s “ark”
Come to where the Vorwerk hens cluck and the Rhön sheep graze: about a hundred animals from eleven old domestic animal breeds live in the Hessenpark. A lot of them have become pretty rare, some of them are nearly extinct. Through managed breeding, we help to preserve the diversity of these endangered animals. As a result, we have been a certified Ark Park since 2012.
Far and wide: the landscape as a museum
Apple varieties range from King of the Pippins to Kaiser Wilhelm. At the Hessenpark, you can find a rich selection of ancient apple and other crop species. Discover the age-old landscape of Hesse shaped by its population, and explore forests, fields and meadows, kitchen gardens and pastures, meadow orchards and a vineyard.
With open eyes …
There is plenty to explore behind those creaky wooden doors. Permanent exhibitions show visitors how people used to live in earlier times, with topics ranging from fleeing and homecoming to the history of communication, from Jewish life in rural areas to the importance of traditional ‘Tracht’ costumes. At certain times, volunteers answer visitors’ questions and share fascinating anecdotes.
Crossing the threshold of some buildings will take you back into a different time. Original artefacts – from bed frames to soup ladles – give an authentic glimpse into the past. In selected houses, everyday life from times long gone is revived by craft workers, actors and cultural interpreters. Outside, the show goes on where animals, landscapes and agriculture are also exhibits in the Open Air Museum.
Grasp the opportunity
Understanding begins with hands-on experience. At the Hessenpark, we take this quite literally. We aim not only to convey the everyday culture of past times as accurately as possible – we also allow visitors of all ages to interact with it wherever possible.